… GERD, the unstoppable party machine, and the tale of the best agers!

It is quite rare that a rather unknown and local band, though it has been around for ages (but with limited visibility on the international rock circuit), is able to draw the likes of The Undertones, Jam, Small Faces and others as support.

But Gerd, Hamburgs loveliest party machine, is able to call these favours because the mu-sick industry played their dirty tricks on them. Rewind to 1972 and Gerd is alone and broke, his girlfriend Sonja left him behind and all his mates are in prison. But instead of giving in to alcohol he puts all his eggs into one basket and pens the Über-Hit „Born in Hamburg Horn“ followed by more Glamrock hits, only to have them stolen by less gifted (and greedy) rock musicians – from A like Adriano Celentano to Z like Zeppelin, Led. Name one of the big names of the 70s and they have at least one Gerd song in their rooster.

Whilst these suckers went on to enjoy sold-out stadium tours Gerd only got the occasional gigs in dodgy pubs in the lowlands of northern Germany. At least when it came to payment for these Gerd used all their street-smartness and came up with a clever approach: Instead of asking for a share of the door they asked for a share of the drinks turnover (knowing their fan-base was quite addicted to booze). Still, little fame was achieved and Gerd have been struggling ever since (even to the point that all of them have additional bands to play in in order to pay the bills).

Kick off for this eagerly awaited party night was with Perfect Cousins, who actually are 3/4 of Hamburgs old and beloved punk band Napalm: Arne sings, Lui on Bass and Reeder takes the drums. This added with two more capable members gets you the ultimate 1:20 party hits of The Undertones in real.

Perfect Cousins (Knust, Hamburg, 26.11.2016) (c) gehkacken.de)

And, as many folks over years noted, the rather nasal vocals by Arne are a perfect fit (and some even wanted him to join The Undertones upon Fergal calling it a day). A great set, this time well rehearsed and injecting the right fun into the crowd who immediately put on their dancing shoes.

Next on Jam Today, reformed from the ashes of Jam Today – starting the set with some Jam numbers as the traditional 3 piece they soon invited additional members onto the stage: The guy on the keyboard is not really a new add (was trialled some times before) but the 2nd guitar (which comes with great vocals) is brand new. And adds to their ability to try new styles.

Jam Today (Knust, Hamburg, 26.11.2016) (c) gehkacken.de)

Where the Perfect Cousins had an immediate effect on the audience, Jam Today dared to play it on the risky side and branched out into Small Faces, Style Council and classic mod rock like The Chords.

Audience reception was a bit luke-warm though they got their fair share of applause and support. I’ll guess with some further tightening of the set it will be a good one (though different and maybe no longer suited for the 50+ oldpunks just wanting to sing along to his or her hold hits).

And finally that gave the stage to Gerd, who where a wee bit nervous about this show as it was – at least for them – a headlining gig on a large stage. And they where nervous about turnout, as they had their share of gigs with less than 50 guests. So with a bright smile they came on stage and faced the 300+ people in the audience who gave them a large cheer.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 26.11.2016) (c) gehkacken.de)

A massive 27 song set-list was the outset for the proceedings, almost a full account of all the hits they have written over the last 44 years and that got recording and airplay by another band.

GERD : Set List (Knust, Hamburg, 26.11.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
GERD : Set List (Knust, Hamburg, 26.11.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

It was like a bam-bam-bam rush through history, sometimes the songs where speeded up a wee bit too much (but i’ll take they simply got carried away by the audience that got going big time). And they even went that far to use additional outfits to complement the songs, just like here in the song that not only got stolen off them but time warped back by Dr. Brown:

And sure thing that was not the end of it, Gerd carefully and tongue-in-check assured that the audience was drunken enough to savour what was to come: The one big hit that Gerd was able to secure for themselves and that is an ode to their beloved hometown:

And whilst at it, booze is booze and Champagne is Champagne – or as they put it:

I've got the money, I've got the place
You've got the figure, you've got the face
Let's get together, the two of us over a glass of champagne

I guess everyone is able to sing along to side one! So let’s go:

By now and deep into the encore (and already late into the night) Gerd had the audience where they wanted it: Fully engaged, singing, dancing and well intoxicated.

Gerd (Knust, Hamburg, 26.11.2016) (c) gehkacken.de)

And Gerd being the ever cost effective party machine even sparred themselves electronic gadgets for intros and just used their hand clapping to – with a change of tone – move into one of the more dramatic songs:

… finaly finished with this one:

Just perfect! Gerd shows always had the annotation of a party – and this one indeed was one of the raunchiest parties of the year. On top of that Gerd being bold and brave moved it to the Knust and made full use of the bigger stage, the bigger audience and the bigger bar space (and booze storage).

The quest though is what deal did they strike with the Knust – door money or booze money? I think short over 300 people attended and about 2.500 beers plus additional booze was sold. According to the landlord of the Knust a very good number and almost the highest average of beer per person attending they have on record!

And that was followed by a great party in the bar with DJ Chrischan providing sing-a-long and dance-a-long classic hits for the best ager audience.

GERD : After-Show Party (Knust, Hamburg, 26.11.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
GERD : After-Show Party (Knust, Hamburg, 26.11.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

How did it look like – it looked like this:

For me just a perfect thing – so many friends (though with one mate who battled yet again in hospital still not able to attend), so much good music and such a great party. I was home „early“ in the wee of the morning and still full of energy!

Gerd offered to be back in 25 years, i’ll take them up on the promise! Next on are two more parties for the 50+ best ager crowd at the Knust: HH-Soundtrack 2016 Edition i am able to do (adjusted my work travel to fit), the Razors Burn down the Baum one i need to let go as i am out for a nice leave away from Hamburg over Christmas and New Year. I guess both will now take up the massive challenge that Gerd have thrown!

… taking a cruise in Berlin with the Sex Pistols and The Jam – What an EXPERIENCE!

Me Mate Frosch reports from the Berlin away game of Jam Today:

My wife and I had to decide early on at the end of last year if we were going to take a trip to Berlin 1st weekend of May to watch our friends from Jam Today joining the Sex Pistols Experience on a boat trip on the river Spree in Berlin. And guess what? We took the challenge!

So we found ourselves standing at a pier in Berlin on a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon greeting Jam Today along with Johnny Rotter, Kid Vicious, Paul Crook and Steve Clones arriving back from their 1st sold out tour that day.

Jam Today (MS Stralau, Berlin 08.05.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Jam Today & Johnny Rotter having a laugh (MS Stralau, Berlin 08.05.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

The little cruise ship “MS STRALAU” has space for up to 200 people but only 100 tickets were sold each trip. So it was pretty spacious and relaxed, no hassle at all to get a few drinks to start with. We had a quick chat with our friends in Jam Today before they already had to take the stage again.

It was their first proper show with a new drummer and latest after a couple of songs when they kicked into smash hits like “In The City”, “Down In The Tube Station At Midnight” or “A Town Called Malice” the party was on its way and a good part of the audience had fun and danced.

It would never match Jam Today’s boat trip in Hamburg on the river Elbe almost 7 years ago though – it is just different when there’s all friends and old companions in the audience eg. a home game… By all means try to get tickets and come to Hamburg if they are ever planning to do a trip on the “MS HEDI” again!

Just from peoples outfit it was crystal clear that most of them where here to see the infamous Sex Pistols Experience (SPE). Old School Punks, 40 and above, wherever you looked, but also some younger ones, including a perfect copy of Soo Catwoman – nice outfit!

Soo Catwoman (MS Stralau, Berlin 08.05.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Soo Catwoman (MS Stralau, Berlin 08.05.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

The SPE made a start into their show and graced the little “stage” at the end of the boat with their perfect Sex Pistols looks. Since seeing them in Hamburg for the 1st time a couple years back I’m deeply impressed by their show. Having just missed the Sex Pistols in Hamburg January 1978 as they broke up little more than a week before, it was the closest and best thing to seeing them at the time.

Still honouring “Never Mind The Bollocks” as the best and most important album of all time I would have never wanted to see the “real” Sex Pistols when they reunited (that proved seeing John Lydon with PIL playing a horrible and extremely boring show some days later in Hamburg…).

I rather watch the SPE and as Steve Jones apparently put it: “They really are the Sex Pistols – superb”.

Half way into the set and the floor of the boat was soaked with beer and people started slipping and crashing to the floor like flies. What a great and wild show, the best I have seen the SPE play yet.

I had my moment when I pointed at Johnny Rotter during “Problems” and screamed that the “problem was him”. So he started pointing at everyone else, good fun and all around great guys in the band. And as usual it was “No Fun” that had to end a fantastic set and a terrific afternoon on the river Spree.

Looking forward to see the SPE at Blackpool Rebellion this year, thanks to Mario Irrek for setting this event up and Andi Incognito for the tickets – ‘til next time!

Thanks for that story Frosch and to Natali for pics and videos! And great to see Jam Today thrive in Berlin …

… a public rehearsal can be fun & errors in one go: Ukes of Tomorrow and Jam Today, almost live!

Jam Today have enlisted a new drummer (at great expenditure) upon departure of Meng, their long time and sturdy drummer boy. And they have some upcoming shows in Hamburg (on the Hedi) and in Berlin (on just another cruise ship). As such they invited friends and fans into the Pony Bar’s tiny backroom and took the small stage for some warm up.

Ukes of Tomorrow (Pony Bar, Hamburg 30.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Ukes of Tomorrow (Pony Bar, Hamburg 30.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

As a warm-up to the warm-up Kent Nielsen and Thomas Christian aka Ukes of Tomorrow provided some bona-fide Ukulele version of classic punk (and other) songs. One some songs it works well, on some other not. Some drummin‘ on a wooden box might help to get some backdrop variations but hey, who am i to judge?

And that was to the 40 year anniversary of The Damned, well done and in time!

Next Jam Today, in clean suits and brand new polo shirts – they really go the extra mile to make themselves attractive. Though some in the audience with an eye for detail made some comments on the shoes, not really up for a proper suit setting.

And they kicked off like this:

Outsch! Warning: Public Rehearsal! Helge’s Rickenbaker sounded like a tube had gone on his amp, Lui’s bass cable had a break and dropped in/out and his mike also had issues. On most songs. Damn. And the stage lights – god awefull!

Jam Today (Pony Bar, Hamburg 30.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)
Jam Today (Pony Bar, Hamburg 30.04.2016 (c) gehkacken.de)

In the end they sounded better and better, the new drummer got cooler and by the last songs they where at it, though they made Kent sing one too. So the choice of warming up was a good one, now make Hamburg proud when you play that cruise ship in Berlin with the Sex Pistols Experience!

PS: Fashion police ctd – that baseball hat needs to get off that drummer, that ain’t Jam Today style!